The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Poll invalid: Ukraine House

Kiev, Nov. 27 (Reuters): Ukraine's parliament, in a vote providing a moral boost for Opposition supporters massed in the capital, said today the disputed presidential poll handing victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was invalid.

Parliament has no legal authority to annul the election results, but with vast crowds backing liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko's call for a new vote, the declaration carries political weight.

It comes two days ahead of a Supreme Court case examining Yuschenko's complaints of poll irregularities. The chamber passed by a large majority a resolution proclaiming the November 21 poll was invalid, subject to many irregularities and failing to reflect voters' intentions.

But at the end of a highly charged emergency session, it failed to pass a motion on staging a re-run of the vote.

After a day of talks with his rival yesterday, overseen by mediators from Russia and the EU, Yushchenko told a crowd of supporters in Kiev he wanted a new poll on December 12. In eastern Ukraine, the Prime Minister's power base, similarly large crowds have backed Yanukovich as President.

'You now have the time to work through the resolution and prepare the documents necessary to develop it,' parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said in closing the session. The chamber also expressed no confidence in the Central Election Commission and called on outgoing President Leonid Kuchma to appoint new members. On Monday, the Supreme Court will examine Yushchenko's complaints of widespread poll irregularities.

As the session opened, 100,000 Yushchenko supporters massed outside parliament chanted their candidate's name and the EU pressed for a new vote.

'We think the best, the ideal, outcome would be elections,' Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the EU said in The Hague. 'If we are heading for elections, it should happen rather soon.'

Speaker Lytvyn called for action to restore popular trust in Ukraine's institutions. 'The most realistic and possible decision' to end turmoil in the streets was to declare the poll invalid, he said.

He took a swipe at outgoing President Leonid Kuchma's scandal-plagued 10 years in office, saying authorities were to blame for the loss of public faith in state institutions. 'The outcome is the direct embodiment of public policy undertaken in recent years ... We did not take the people into account, we did not listen to the people.'

Email This Page